Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

TL;DR – At the Debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President, some key points that would potentially affect ordinary workers like you and me were shared. 

So some of you might have heard that last week, President Halimah Yacob gave the President’s Address and outlined the priorities and policies for the new term of government. Trust us, these are policies that will eventually affect your lives! Earlier this week, a motion was moved expressing Parliament’s thanks for the President’s Address. Members of Parliament also spoke at the Debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President. In case you didn’t know, the debate is when MPs and Ministers scrutinise the policies of the Government as outlined in the President’s Address and the Addenda, debate the points made, and raise their concerns if any.

Our dear PM Lee spoke too and emphasised that Singaporeans must also uphold and make full use of the strong global reputation that Singapore has built over the years, and show the world that our people are of high quality, competent, trustworthy, and skilled. DPM Wong also covered five key shifts in Singapore’s refreshed social compact, including new approaches on skills, social support and caring for seniors, a new definition of success and a renewed commitment to one another. 

At the Debate, NTUC’s Labour MPs reiterated some key points  that would potentially affect ordinary workers like you and me:

Career opportunities, assurance and protection, and career resilience

NTUC’s Deputy Secretary General Desmond Tan promised that the labour movement will always put workers first, as well as ensure that they will have better job opportunities, assurances, protection and the resilience to adapt, upskill and retrain themselves to remain relevant for the future. In the days ahead, he said that NTUC will focus on three main areas, namely expand career opportunities, enhance assurance and protection, and ensure career resilience. Areas that will definitely benefit workers like us!

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Good growth and good jobs

The latest Randstad survey reported that 48 per cent of respondents in Singapore are worried about losing their jobs. NTUC’s Assistant Secretary General Desmond Choo shared that researchers have found that 37 per cent of the average job’s skills have been replaced just over the past five years. As uncertainty becomes more pervasive, we need to restore confidence by addressing underlying structural causes of such anxiety.

With an increasingly volatile global economy, Singapore must press on with efforts to help workers cope with the uncertainties. He stressed that good growth and jobs, as well as strong social safety nets, are key to helping Singaporeans navigate a rapidly changing economy. 

Supporting invisible members of society

NTUC Director of U SME and U Women and Family Yeo Wan Ling spoke on behalf of those she called “invisible” members of society. On working women who are also caregivers – Ms Yeo said their dual roles became even more blended during the COVID-19 pandemic and now that life is returning to normal, momentum gained in terms of flexible work arrangements must not be allowed to slow. She urged employers to extend flexi-work and family-friendly policies to these women as far as possible. 

Upskilling and adapting to the changing nature of work

Fahmi Aliman, director in the NTUC, Member of Parliament representing the Geylang Serai division of Marine Parade GRC spoke on the importance of the Focus Area 4 (FA4) workgroup that aims to support Malay-Muslim workers, as well as the labour movement’s #EveryWorkerMatters Conversations which seek to better understand workers’ perspectives. He said that FA4 is just one example that illustrates how NTUC is committed to ensuring that workers are upskilling and adapting to the changing nature of work. As we look towards the future, it is evident that trust will continue to be a crucial component in shaping the workforce landscape. Moving forward, we need to maintain this trust and continue to collaborate to support workers with the necessary skills to succeed in the ever-evolving job market. 

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Career coaching and unemployment support

NTUC’s Assistant Secretary General Patrick Tay also brought up an interesting point on career coaching. He said that as we navigate a skills and employment landscape that is increasingly complex, the assistance and guidance by a career coach is becoming more of a necessity than a luxury. Lost? Here’s where you can find more resources on career coaching. He further proposed that there be industry-led accreditation of career coaches and counsellors and expanding SkillsFuture credits utilisation to include the engaging of professional career coaches and counsellors. 

Now, Patrick has lobbied for workers for more than a decade. He noted that many are facing anxiety over skills obsolescence and unemployment. Having previously lobbied on many occasions the possibility of monetary support for those unemployed to help them tide through the difficult period before finding and landing the next job, he welcomed President’s mention and DPM Lawrence Wong’s speech which alluded that government would study how support beyond the pandemic might be extended to help our workers tide through unemployment and get re-employed again. Good news for workers concerned about job security in this climate! 

As PM Lee said at the Debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President, we are heading into a troubled world, we have much work to do, and quickly. We must stay united as One Singapore. Divided, our society stands no chance!  

A slice of life with MP Patrick Tay